Feminist City: A Field Guide combines memoir, feminist theory, pop culture, and geography to expose what is hidden in plain sight: the social inequalities built right into our cities, homes, and neighbourhoods. Focusing on gendered experiences of the city, the books grapples with the challenge of claiming urban space amongst barriers designed to keep women “in their place”. From the geography of rape culture to the politics of snow removal, the city is an ongoing site of gendered struggle. Yet the city is perhaps also our best hope for shaping new social relations based around care and justice.
Taking on fear, motherhood, friendship, activism, and the joys and perils of being alone, Kern maps the city from new vantage points, laying out a feminist intersectional approach to urban histories and pathways towards different urban futures. Feminist questions about safety and fear, paid and unpaid work, and rights and representation prompt us to dismantle what we take for granted about cities and open space to ask how we can build more just, sustainable, and care-full cities together.
What the critics say
“The magic of the city works on many different levels. Kern’s book helps reveal them. She rightly proposes that to move beyond the oppressions structured into cities, we need utopian visions.” (Susan Ferguson, Hamilton Review of Books)
“Feminist City exposes the oppressive, heteronormative and colonialist structures which form the layered foundations of most cities. Although Kern writes that there is no blueprint for a feminist city, she has provided us with a field guide to be critical of and protest our cities, which, as put by Jane Darke, are ‘patriarchy written in stone, brick, glass and concrete.’” (Allison Smith, rabble.ca)
“Kern’s book and ideas deserve to be read and discussed on the Left. I hope that we can build on Kern’s research and analysis to generate a collective, intersectional approach to urban organizing that is clear-eyed about the system within which we labour and is motivated by the wildest imagining of a decolonial, anticapitalist, feminist future.” (Kate Atkinsoh, spring magazine)